Garret Duron, MD, on 5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine Whether a Piece of COVID-19 Literature Will Be Helpful to You

In his previous video, Garret Duron, MD, highlighted the recommendations that he and his team developed for how rheumatologists can navigate the COVID-19 literature landscape. In this video, Dr Duron explains how a busy rheumatologist can implement those recommendations. Video transcript below.

Additional Resource:

Duron G, Gelman L, Dua A, Putman M. Tracking clinical resources for coronavirus disease 2019. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2020;32(5):441-448. doi:10.1097/BOR.0000000000000724

Garret Duron, MD, is an internal medicine resident at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia.


Garret Duron: As far as how a busy practicing rheumatologist can implement these recommendations, we recommend using a process to streamline reading through an aggregator.

The specific one that we mentioned in our paper was Read by QxMD. Essentially, this application allows the user to add journals or topics they want to follow. You can plug in “rheumatology” and “COVID‑19,” and this will aggregate articles through your institution onto an app that will give you a feed that you can look through.

Once you have a collection of reliable, quality articles, the next step would be focusing your time on the sources that are most likely to result in reliable information. An approach that we shared for this was essentially 5 questions to ask before reading an article to decide if it will be helpful to you. Those are: is it irrelevant, is it accessible, is it credible, is it timely, and is it trustworthy?

In terms of relevancy, the specific question is, does the article address a specific clinical question that is going to improve your practice as a physician?

In terms of its accessibility, are you familiar with the type of work? Is it a basic vs clinical science work? Is there an article that’s in your language that’s available?

In terms of credibility, is this article been through a peer review process, and is it published in a high-quality journal? Is the way the article was done likely to answer the question that you have going into it in an unbiased manner? If there’s a treatment for COVID‑19 that you are looking at, something like a randomized controlled trial is going to be much more likely to answer that question in an unbiased manner than a case series, for example.

Timeliness is the fourth component to this. The question here is, has there been a more relevant study that’s been published after this article. A way that this can be found is using the cited by function in Google Scholar, or PubMed, to double check and make sure that there’s not a more up-to-date article on the subject.

In terms of trustworthiness, this is always important, just to make sure that there are not any competing interests that might bias the article or the presentation. This can include certain pharmaceutical company funding, or researchers that have vested interest in the outcomes.